Since 2005, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been researching, developing and testing materials in freezing conditions. By developing more efficient materials for wind turbines, researchers can increase turbine efficiency and reduce potential downtime for wind turbines in cold climates, the U.S. Department of Energy says.
The teams use Titan, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, to simulate hundreds of water droplets as they freeze, with each droplet containing 1 million molecules. By simulating and studying how water freezes on a molecular level, the department says, scientists are gaining an understanding of how ice forms, which will help them improve turbine designs.
Transitioning to clean-energy sources such as wind is part of the Obama administration’s plan to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and cut emissions that are contributing to climate change.
Pictured here is an illustration of a single water droplet, filled with molecules freezing in slow motion. Visit the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility website to learn more about the wind turbine research.